Interactive Video Ad Insertion Arrives for Live HTTP Streams

Interactive Video Ad Insertion Arrives for Live HTTP Streams

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Jivox is over at the  Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Marketplace – Mobile event and it just dropped into my inbox that they’ve announced the ability to insert their interactive video ads into live HTTP streams (using HLS). That’s pretty big news for those of us that are looking to better monetize live video streams online.

We all know that interactive video ads have a much better chance of raising brand engagement and perhaps even conversions so being able to use them on any stream whether it’s live or on-demand helps further differentiate online video viewing from standard TV viewing (the non-connected TV type of course). Jivox’s announcement means that interactive ads can help increase revenue even on smartphones and tablets now as well as connected TV, for live content.

The nice thing about HLS is that it’s supported by most portable platforms including those mobile ones which are Flash averse (see below). There is a Flash SDK for HLS streaming from YoSpace which, “will allow you to play HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) streams in your existing Flash player.” But I’ve no idea at present if it would play nice with Jivox’s platform.

In a previous article I said that the ultimate future online video advertising campaign will be interactive, will run everywhere, as in all platforms and will be tracked and managed in real-time. Now I can add to that; and include live streams.

Jivox did report interactive pre-roll ads show a 30-60% increase in brand engagement across certain verticals (based on their own data and research so grain of salt). The question will now be, “can mid-roll interactive ads in HTTP live streams do the same?” I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

This comes at a good time for the industry as both Safari 5.1 and Android 4.0 now support HLS streams without needing anything fancy. iOS 5 all the way down to the first generation of iPads supports it, as does the iPod Touch 4 with iOS 4 according to LongTail Video.

Adaptive streaming formats, like video codecs, are not part of the HTML5 specification. Standardization will therefore come from another body than W3C. MPEG is the most likely candidate. It has just release a standard for adaptive streaming, called DASH, which has gained broad industry support. No browser supports MPEG DASH yet, but we assume this will come. –LongTail Video State of HTML5

This is probably going to be a major push for the second half of 2012 and into 2013. That will mean that all manner of major events will be able to have live streaming coverage sent out to portable devices and be able to monetize through the insertion of interactive ads.

Now I’m curious to see how they’ll work. Unlike pre-recorded streams which could be paused and then picked up where one left off, live events are, well, live. Spending too much time with an interactive ad could result in missing part of the stream you’re trying to watch and that could prevent viewers from interacting with the ads too much. Granted, you can use HLS for on-demand content as well so that will work by pausing the video surely.

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